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Still More Reader Feedback - Keynote # 8, 2000

I get so many interesting communications from you, my readers, that I am going to share still some more of them this month.

George KN2GSJ writes, "Hi John, Just finished reading your two columns in the new Fists issue. 3 and 4. As always, I enjoyed your comments very much. As I told you the other day when we worked, I have just gotten interested in QRP. I started working QRP on April 11, 2000. Just for the heck of it, as a good Navy buddy of mine, W8RIK has just earned his DXCC QRP. We work each othe on 20 meters. So, I decided to give it a try. To make a long story short, I've worked 18 states (8 confirmed) and 13 countries (none confirmed yet) and am having a ball. You told me on the air about your new KNWD rig and it made me feel good because I am operating with the FT1000D cut back to 4 or 5 watts. I felt like in the land of QRP I would not be a purist as I have not built my rig nor is it an "old" rig. HI. But, I figured that if these old rigs, xtal controlled and otherwise could do the job, why the FT should go great. It seems it does. I still work QRO and I guess you would say I am 50/50. I enjoy both. I've been back on the air since November of 93, and my logs (I have a separate log for each band on CW and a special log now for QRP QSOs) show that I have had 4,518 as of today. A long way to go for 10 or 12,000 contacts. I think it is amazing that you get a QSO a day. We take off for the weekend to see the grandkids in NJ and it blows one or two days. HI. But I am so glad that I have found QRP. It brings another thrill to my ham radio life. To work the same areas that I have worked before with higher power and do it with 4 or 5 watt, now that is something. Another friend of mine on a navy net, W8RHS, and I were talking and he said before he started the net a guy who was QRP in S. Dakota running 5 watts was coming in a 569. He was amazed. HI. As you said, some people don't realize how much can be done with that amount of power. I always worked a QRP station when I heard them calling CQ and enjoyed finding out how much they were running. Keep up the good work and hope to run into you on the air again and update you. HI HI. 73 George KN2GSJ AR."

Wow what a treasure trove of good information about QRP that George provided.

Now here's more great stuff from Bill, KG4FXG who writes, "John, I enjoyed your QRP article in the Keynote. I am a new ham, got my ticket in Dec 99 and was lucky enough to pass my first code test at 13 wpm. I am a general now and very interested in QRP. My code buddy is also very much into QRP. I operate CW about 98% except for the 2 meter in the car. Yes, everyday I look at the ashtray and see paddles. My code buddy, KB9RPG Steve, and I have turned the power down to 10 watts and below and I can still hear him, it really works. I guess I will never buy that Kilowatt. I will try your straight wire ant sometime after I get a simple QRP rig. Currently, I have an ICOM-746 and run a G5RV about 35 ft. I need to put some wire up in the trees with a slingshot. I hope to build a radio, currently attempting a SW receiver from TenTec. I have never built before, I work as an accountant and have no training in electronics yet - will train myself with the help of the guys at the local NOGA QRP club. May have to buy a rig before I actually can build one. Thanks for the encouragement, I too wrote a brief few lines about my code buddy in this Keynote. Also, see my pic and bio on QRZ. Hope to chat QRP soon! Hey, I got a TT2 also that I need to build. 73. Bill Carter KG4FXG Fists #7249"

Again great info. I'm delighted to see a new ham interested in QRP.

And I think I have room for one more from Gery, VE2KRM who writes, "Hi John. My name is J. Gerard (Gery) Robidoux, VE2KRM also KD6FXW. FISTS nr 5338 - I have 3 QTHs: Home, sailboat on Lake Champlain and Camper, now parked at Lac aux Sables, 100 km N of Trois-Rivieres. Your writing on QRP is very interesting, also intriguing... You lucky man with a TS-570D(G), mine does not have the "G". My favorite mode is CW 80s, SSB 100w and RTTY afsk J2B 50w. But on the sailboat, when at anchor (depending on one of the 3 batteries) I go for: VE2KRM/W2/MM/QRP (5 watts) long call... and I do work surprising contacts but nothing like your strings. I only have one question: How much time do you spend in the shack? This is not a remark, just a question... One ham wrote a book about 130 countries on 160 meters in a period of 30 years; he went to bed with the radio on the calling frequency for DX, answered the prefix he needed - still a lot of patience and selfcontrol. Hi Hi. I will look you up in QRZ and on your web site. Thanks for reading me and please a short reply. 73 au revoir, Gery"

I published Gery's comments mainly because I wanted to answer his question here in the column. Lately I spend very little time on the air each day - less than an hour a day on average. There is just too much else to do in this life besides ham radio, especially with the lovely summer weather we have here in Western Pennsylvania. Of course if I get interested in a contest or we have a day when band conditions are really good, I will spend much more time on the air, but that doesn't happen too often, especially during these summer doldrums on the bands. When 10 and 12 come alive again this fall and winter, I'll be on those bands a lot trying to up my country totals and finish my 10 and 12M WAS.

At this time of year, I generally hit the bands at 0000Z each day to try to get my QSO of the day to continue my 2160 (as I write this) day streak and/or a DX QSO to continue my streak of 142 (again as I write this - July 3) days with a QRP DX QSO. If I don't get my QSO then, or if conditions were especially good in that hour, I'll hit the bands again in the 0400Z hour before I go to bed. Then If I wake up in the middle of the night and feel like it, I'll check to see what might be coming through from the Pacific on 40, 30 and 20M. That's about it for this time of year. In winter, I'll change the pattern and make my main times of operation in the 0000Z and 1400Z hours as the 1400Z hour is much better than 0400Z in winter.

To sum up, to do what I've done in ham radio does not require anything near total devotion to the hobby. Just a little bit of on the air time each day will suffice.

And that runs me out of space for this issue. I still have more reader input to share, but that will have to wait. My web site is at home.windstream.net/johnshan/. Email me or regular mail is John Shannon, 478 E. High St., Kittanning, PA 16201-1304 73 -30-